My life

I’m alive!

I don’t know how many of these I’ve done now… But yes, I’m still here and still writing. I’ve been struggling with life again a little bit and I didn’t want to expose my gloom to the world at the time I was in said gloom. Well, now I’m ready. Actually, it’s not right to say that I’ve been in a gloom – I’ve really been sooooooo happy. However it’s like… there’s a part of me that’s quivering with anxiety and is out of my control. So that’s the part that’s trying to pull me down. The rest of me is floating stubbornly on cloud nine though.

Uhmmm… anyway. What have I been up to? I’ve been back to work and also very busy with my interior design course work (I’m still planning on a little series of posts on my whole course by the way). Got my hair chopped off (I went from having dark brunette hair half way down my back to a short dark blonde bob). 

You know, I don’t actually know what I’ve been doing. I’m just so tired. Haven’t been sleeping well (I’ll get you for this one day, anxiety!). I’ve also just checked that I last posted about a week and a half ago. That’s ages in blog world! Aaaaaaages. I do have a lot of posts lined up, waiting to be written though.

Just waiting… ever so patiently.

I’ll leave it here for now. You know I’m alive and … OH! I just remembered something. I can’t tell you just yet, but it’s going to be really good, I promise!

*flies off cackling to herself*

G.

My life

Just Married!

I was going to wait with this post until we get home and I gain access to all of the wedding pictures, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I’m married!!! I know, I can’t believe it myself either haha. It’s absolutely bonkers. But hey, we’ve been married for 3 days now and still going strong!

It has been absolutely manic for the past week or so and I feel like I haven’t slept in months. We’ve all been so busy running off our feet, trying to get things done. In fact, I may be asleep as I’m writing this, I keep nodding off at odd moments. (Here’s a random picture of the venue before the wedding.)

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Lack of sleep notwithstanding, we did it. Everything was absolutely 100% perfect. Everyone enjoyed themselves to the fullest and it was so great to finally have our families meet. (Here’s another random picture of our venue before the wedding. We worked so hard to get the decorations up on time.)

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I’ll be heading off to bed now, but I’ll leave you with this snap of our first slice of cake as a married couple. It was sooooooooooooo nice!

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I’ll be writing more when we get back home and I get all the pictures from my camera and our amazing photographer. So much to show you all.

Until we meet again! Or you know, until I’m awake at least. (I’m a WIFE! Whaaaaaat?!)

G.

My life

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That just sounds like some swamp creature haha. Blogblogblog.

Recently I’ve been struggling again quite a bit with all kinds of different things. I guess you could say I’ve had one of those setbacks that I’ve written about previously. Some things in my life have changed and it’s had a bigger impact on my health and well being than I’d have liked. Instead of talking about the changes, I’d like to write a little about the impact and what’s next.

You may remember that a little while ago I wrote about how amazing it feels to be better again. In my joy I forgot that it’s not like a cold that goes and you can get back your life the way it ‘should’ be. Or maybe I just hoped? Hmm, anyway, now that’s shattered, it’s time to deal with things again.

I’m getting a bit tired of always having to ‘deal with things’ to be honest. I’d love to just plod along without having to worry about actively monitoring and working on my thoughts and feelings. Now that’d be a hoot!

Ok, I was starting to get a bitter there, I’ll leave it at that and get on with it. The impact of those earlier mentioned changes is that I’m having a lot more difficult time coping with everyday things again. I had a panic attack (I hadn’t had one in a long time now), I’m struggling to sleep and my thoughts keep wanting to take over. To sum it up – not good!

If I hadn’t had that few weeks/months of feeling well again, I might have thought that I’m back where I started and given up all hope. However as it stands, I did have those weeks/months of feeling well again, so I know it’s not all lost and those feelings are still there somewhere. I know for a fact that it can and will get better.

I think that’s a good starting point. Now I just need to convince my brain and body of it as well. That’s going to be somewhat difficult but I hope I’ll manage. I mean, the alternative is pretty grim so in a way I feel like it can only go up from here on.

I realise it’s a bit rambly-brambly, but I haven’t really felt like writing recently, so I thought I may as well write about what’s on my mind at the moment.

Here, have a picture of my wild strawberries. If they can flourish in that field of weeds that is my back garden, then I’m sure my happy/realistic thoughts will find their way through the bad ones in my head too 🙂

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G.

Books, Challenges, My life, Reviews

My March Books

I read 3 books in March which took me to 10/30. I’m 1/3 of the way there guys! Whoop! Anyway, I know there’s only 2 books on the picture and that’s because the third one has been travelling from person to person since I finished it. Having found it quite enlightening and useful, I’ve passed it on to two of my friends since and one of them currently still has it.

In fact, that’s the book I shall begin with. I’m a bit late to the bandwagon with this, but the first book I read in March was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. I’m not claiming it was fully as miraculous as it claims, but I got quite a bit out of it. Overall this books is quite nutty in my opinion, you have to pick and choose what to take from it and it’s definitely not going to suit everyone’s taste. However I learned a few neat tricks to decluttering and better organisation. My wardrobe shrank considerably after I put some of those tips into use (like only keeping the stuff that makes me happy) and now I can wear anything from it, knowing that no matter what I pick, I’ll be happy wearing it. Such a simple concept but one that I never thought of myself. So I had piles of clothes that I hadn’t worn in years and a few items I’d never even put on. Well, not anymore! I also learned a few good ways to organise my clothes which I’ve actually stuck to as it just makes a lot of sense (like storing clothes side by side not in a pile). Anyway, long story short, I liked it.

The second book I read was Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman. Right, I’ve tried to start my review about this one three times now and nothing just seems to fit. I thought it was an OK book. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a nice read. It had its interesting bits and some crazy twists which were well done. Overall I’d say I enjoyed it and if you’re after a quick and easy read with some mystery then by all means go for it. Hmm… That doesn’t sound like a very good review. It’s just… You know how some books influence you more and some to a lesser degree or not much at all? Well, I don’t think all books can nor should be life-changing, some should just be simple entertainment. Which is what this books was.

Now then. I saved my favourite for last this time. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m sure you’re all getting a bit tired about me going oooon and oooooon about the Mistborn series but it’s just that good. If you like fantasy books with magic but are tired of the same old wands and mages then pick this up. I’ve never known magic like this before and it’s just… And the characters and the story and it’s all just. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. That’s one of the life-changing books for me.

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That’s it for now. If you have any recommendations for what I could read next, let me know! 🙂

G.

Books, Challenges, Crafts, Food, My life

Of life in general, briefly. / Ups and downs

Hmm. It’s really weird what I now consider to be my ‘downs’ as they’re actually more of a ‘not that up’. It’s weird to explain, if you haven’t experienced it. But even on my days when I feel like I can’t really be bothered to do anything, which before would’ve found me in a dark hole, I can now just shrug it off. Dealing with things is so different when you’re not well. Also, realising how it’s different is hard when you’re in a place where things aren’t that great.

Now that I’ve noticed the changes I keep finding that I’m more conscious of the slight differences. For example, the other day I was focusing on the feelings in my stomach and the thoughts in my head and realised I last felt like this more than a decade ago. After struggling for so long, it feels amazing to realise that yes, my memories of feeling like this once upon a time weren’t just ‘memory goggles’ that make times gone by feel better, but that I actually did feel different then.

So, back to the topic — oooooh, I just thought that I should’ve told you about my Sunday. I was SO productive and got a buttload of things done. Hmm. Now I’m torn about whether to continue this post or start again. I think I’ll go ahead with my current one at the moment, but expect to see a ‘The Most Productive Sunday Yet’ post soon.

Ok, can I pleaaase get back to my post now? — Today I didn’t go bouncing/trampolining. I should’ve done, but didn’t. Why did I not go? Well, because today is one of the days when I felt like I’d rather eat a reasonably sized portion of lasagna and attempt to make T-shirt yarn. Check and check. The lasagna was a frozen ready meal and actually surprisingly nice. (Today was also one of the days where I couldn’t be bothered to cook from scratch.) T-shirt yarn however… well, I think I’ve got some room for improvement. The first one would be to get proper scissors. The second one would be to learn how to cut even strips… I’m pretty sure some toddlers could surpass me in cutting skills. Once I’ve practised a little bit more I’ll let you know in more detail how it goes and what I’m going to make of the yarn.

Speaking of toddlers (erm… young kids), I watched an episode of Masterchef Junior today. Turns out I’ve got a LOT to learn about cooking and I could learn a lot of it from kids — my fiance just tried to ask me what my post is about and as it’s about everything whilst being about nothing I didn’t want to lose my train of thought so I growled at him. He didn’t appreciate it. — that are half my age and less. My cooking skills were very extremely limited until I was in my early twenties, I think. That’s when I started to explore the world of food a bit more courageously.

Watching a cooking show also reminded me that I haven’t made many soups this year. For those of you who are wondering why I’ve singled out soups – my this year’s challenge is to make 12 different soups. So far I’ve made two. That’s low even for my usual cooking variety, not to mention that I’m supposed to be doing this to complete my challenge. I’m pretty certain I made a lot more soups when it wasn’t a challenge. I’ll need to look into this, I think.

Anyway, it may not have been as brief as the title suggested, but there it is. I got most of the stuff off my mind – a lot of it straight from thoughts to paper without much editing, so I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse into my brrrrrain. Oh, the image I used is a picture of daffodils that are on my way to/from work. How cool is that. A sea of daffodils that I walk past every day.

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I’ll go try to make amends with my fiance now and then go read my book. I’m getting really close to the end of the last book in the trilogy and such interesting things are happening! I can’t even… Yeah. I’ll see you soon!

G.

Beauty, Reviews, Unboxing

A Fantastic beginning to April

My goodness, the weather has been absolutely amazing! So sunny and warm and mmmmm. And I think that my April Lookfantastic beauty box design sums it up pretty well with a gorgeous sunny flower on it.

As usual, my Lookfantastic beauty box came accompanied with a travel sized issue of Elle magazine and Lookfantastic’s own little booklet about this box. The booklet also has a lot of beauty and skin care tips so if you usually don’t read the literature that comes with the boxes, I’d definitely recommend you read this one (it’s even got some healthy food recipes!)

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Vitamasques, Pomegranate Sheet Mask. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten this mask in most of my beauty boxes now, but as it’s a one time use thing I’m not really complaining. I love it that I don’t have to really venture to the world of face masks on my own anymore as I have my trusty suppliers who do the choosing for me.

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Omorovicza, Cleansing Foam. I haven’t opened this yet as it’s sealed with a little foil bit, but I love the packaging and it’s supposed to be extremely gentle on the skin whilst thoroughly removing all impurities, ‘so your complexion looks just as good without having to wear an ounce of makeup’. Well, that sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? Let me know if you’ve tried it and if it works like promised.

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This Works, Perfect Legs Skin Miracle. As the weather has been absolutely gooooooorgeous this weekend I thought it’d be the perfect time to try out this leg perfector (so I wouldn’t blind everyone with my blue/white legs). Well, I tried it out but I don’t think it actually did much for me. Maybe I need to already have a bit of a tan for this little guy to be able to do its job? At the moment however I didn’t notice any miracle wow effect.

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Alterna, Caviar CC Cream. As I’m used to see CC face creams, I was a bit surprised to see they also do them for hair. I was a bit worried it may make my hair crunchy or greasy, but it did neither of these things. It left my hair soft and shiny and smelling* nice.

*About the smell though, I think it is nice, BUT it smells exactly the same as something else that I can’t put my finger on. And unfortunately that something else is something that I didn’t really like, I think, as it makes me feel rather unpleasant. So I’m just trying to tell my nose that this hair cream is a completely different thing and that I shouldn’t associate it with that other thing from years ago that I didn’t like, but we’ll see how that goes. Silly scent memory.

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Merci Handy, Hand Cleansing Gel. I absolutely love these hand gels. They don’t smell as ‘alcoholic’ as some other hand gels and leave my hands feeling really nice and clean. They’re also a really convenient size for flying when you’re trying to bring as few and small liquid bottles as possible. Love it!

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Madara, Mini Smart Day Cream. I’m really running out of ways to describe the subtlest differences between face creams. I’ve tried this one once and it was nice. Absorbed quickly and without leaving my skin greasy. It also only had the faintest of scents, so if you don’t like strongly smelling face creams, that could be a definite bonus.

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Laura Geller, Balance And Brighten Fair. Looks like I left the best for last. But going through all of these products again, I do realise this one is my favourite product from this box. I used this instead of my usual foundation this morning and it’s got surprisingly good coverage. All things considered (it’s only a light finish foundation), it did a fantastic job on my dark under eye area as well. Very impressed. Also, it’s sooooooo pretty! It looks like a planet.

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That’s it and I have to say I absolutely loved it. The box itself is gorgeous and the products inside are absolutely amazing. Definitely worth getting! I’ll go out in the sun now to read my Elle 😉

G.

My life

Looking back, I’ve come so far. (Anxiety/Depression)

Hi all! I wrote this post months ago but it never felt like the right time to put it up. Well, today it hit me – I haven’t felt the effects of depression for quite some time now and my anxiety has gone down a lot. And then I started to think back to some of my latest feelings and experiences and I realised how different they now felt, compared to what it used to be like. It’s amazing. Well and truly amazing. My brain has finally realised that I’m… well, happy. And that’s not to say I wasn’t happy before. My brain was just having a hard time coping with things. But I think with this realisation, it’s now the time to show you this post.


I think this is going to be a bit more serious post than usual. This is something my sister suggested I write about quite some time ago and I’ve been toying around with the idea for a while. Last night however I couldn’t fall asleep, thinking what I’d write about. In fact I almost got out of bed to write everything down then, but I thought I’ll sleep on it and see what I think in the morning. Now it’s morning and I think that if this post could help even one person, I’d be incredibly happy, so I’ll go for it. I may try to think of a funnier title for it later, but at the moment it’s ‘Anxiety/depression’.

I’m so glad that recently a lot of people have spoken up about it, shared their personal experiences and shed some light on it. I think one of the most important things to know about this is that you’re not alone. Anxiety and depression are way more common than you’d think.

I’ve been through quite a bit, some of it I brought on myself, some of it not my fault. A lot of these things brought on thoughts and feelings I couldn’t deal with. Years went by and I still hadn’t found a way to cope. For a few years I felt like there wasn’t a way out and I found everything increasingly difficult. Then I got some outside help, without me or them realising that that’s what it was – help. My family was always really supportive and the new people in my life made everything seem a bit brighter again. I wish that could’ve been the end of it, but my burdens ran deep and still crept out every now and then. I was very up and down, struggling without realising I was struggling. That’s the funny part actually. I didn’t realise it wasn’t normal. I thought that’s how everyone feels. Or maybe I just didn’t think about it much.

My eyes were opened when last year, on top of everything else, I had two panic attacks a week apart. I’d had them before, but usually not more often than a couple of times a year. That made me pick up my courage and seek professional help. I rang up my Dr’s office and they asked me to go in for a chat. That chat was to evaluate what kind of help would be the best for me. I found out that the thoughts and feelings I had were brought on by anxiety and depression and that I could actually get better. It was such a revelation to me, to discover that you don’t have to feel constantly anxious and on the edge and that it’s possible to manage the negative thoughts that are just going round and round in your head. It was such a relief to realise that what I’d been thinking and feeling isn’t necessarily what I’ll be thinking and feeling going forward. I could get better!

Together we decided that I should start with computer based cognitive behavioural therapy. This meant that every week I went in for my appointment, to catch up with my support person and then spend an hour going through the week’s materials and exercises in the Dr’s office. I did this by myself with my support person right there in case I needed anything. I liked that. I like doing things by myself so this suited me well.

At this point I wanted to get well so bad that I think I got ahead of myself and thought that I was better than I actually was. I was burying some things without dealing with them. I was lucky as it didn’t all come crashing down on me, but I did have my ups and downs. My therapy sessions ended about four months ago and I’m finding that I do slip back into the negative loop every now and then, but what the therapy did was give me the tools to manage it. That was the whole point of it. Not to magically fix me, but to give me ways to cope and to gradually need to do it consciously less and less. It’s working for me and after all those ramblings that’s what I’d really like to share with you. There’s not going to be any miracle potions or spells, just some tips that are good to have, even if you’re perfectly fine. Some of these things are pretty basic and you may find that you actually already do these, as we’ve all got our little things that help us get through the rough patches. Even I discovered I already had a couple of good habits (among a hundred bad ones but hey, nobody’s perfect!). Please keep in mind I’m not a healthcare professional and am only talking about what I’ve found useful from personal experience.

What I found the most helpful was scheduling in an enjoyable activity. I hadn’t even realised how I wasn’t really doing the things I used to love doing and just felt like I had no energy for anything ever. But scheduling in something enjoyable, giving it priority over everything else and having to do it has worked wonders. I used to feel that for example if I haven’t done the dishes, I can’t relax without feeling guilty, but knowing that this enjoyable thing that I’d booked in for the day was at the very top of my list, meant that I can do it without feeling bad about anything. So I was doing something I enjoyed and it made me feel great. Good enough in fact that I found I could then tackle the rest of the things on my to do list. (Never put more than five things on your daily list though)

Next thing that I have found very helpful is the can I do anything about it? That’s actually something I already used before my sessions and my support person said it’s a very good technique so I’ve continued to use it with great success. Basically it’s really simple. I picture myself in my happy place, conjure up the thought that’s bothering me in my mind’s eye and think – is there anything I can do about this? If the answer is no I picture a big stamp and just slam it on the thought which leaves a big red NO on it. If there is something I could do about it then I schedule it in for a bit later so I can approach it with fresh mind.

The next thing that’s helped me would need a post of its own, so I’ll talk about it quickly and leave a link to a page that describes it in more detail. Recognising thinking errors. It’s something that very many of us do, usually without realising it. Once you do see them though, you can tackle the errors you’re making and gradually change the way you’re thinking. If you look for this on the internet you’ll find a lot more information about it, these are just two websites that I found pretty much cover what I learned. www.psychologytoday.com and us.reachout.com

There’s a lot more to it, these are just the main things that I’ve found useful. If you feel yourself struggling though, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it’s from your Dr or a friend or family member. You don’t have to go through this alone and you can get better. There are also telephone helplines if you’d like to talk to someone anonymously.


So, that’s what I wrote then and I feel it’s still relevant today. Even though I’m now a lot better, I’m still making sure I do something that I enjoy every day and that I used the techniques I learned, to make sure I stay this way. I don’t punish myself for ‘failings’ and am trying to go a lot easier on myself. I’m only human after all (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You’ll never get me back, you space creatures!)

*Ahem* Still as nutty as squirrel poo.

G.